Class 6A Championship
D3 Harrisburg vs. St. Joseph’s Prep
Andy Shay: St. Joseph’s Prep 30, Harrisburg 14: Even with eight new starters on defense the Hawks are heavy favorites in this match-up because of that defense. I think Harrisburg’s defense is just as good. It’s the depth of the weapons SJP has on offense that makes the difference down the stretch.
Andy Sandrik: St. Joseph’s Prep 30, Harrisburg 17: The Cougars like to claim that nobody believed in them this year, but I’ve literally picked them to win every single week. I’d be a fool, however, to say Harrisburg isn’t the underdog for this state final.
Jake Adams: St. Joseph’s Prep 31, Harrisburg 24: You’ll recognize a few names — Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. — sons of former NFL standouts. The Hawks, PIAA champs in 2013, ‘14 and ‘16, are loaded with talent. And that’s not even getting into 2,000-yard passer Kyle McCord, a sophomore with Penn State and Michigan offers. Can Harrisburg hang? Maybe.
Adam Kulikowski: St. Joseph’s Prep 35, Harrisburg 28: The Cougars are underdogs entering this one. That’s common knowledge. But you can bet Calvin Everett’s crew will use that as motivation. Key to me is Harrisburg’s front getting pressure on stud QB Kyle McCord--a sophomore with several top D1 offers.
Class 3A Championship
D3 Middletown vs. Aliquippa
Andy Shay: Aliquippa 28, Middletown 14: I so badly want to pick the Blue Raiders to win one of these games. I’m worried about one key match-up, though. The Quips passing game is diverse and has a gunslinger pulling the trigger. And I think the only way to beat Middletown is to throw the ball. The Quips defense is no joke, either. They surrendered like four of five touchdowns during the regular season. If QB Scott Ash can stretch this defense the Blue Raiders have a better shot.
Andy Sandrik: Aliquippa 28, Middletown 14: The Quips, with their 4,000-yard rusher serving a suspension, made mistake after mistake and did everything in their power to lose last week. And they still won their semifinal by a 41-7 score. I want to believe in Middletown, but something about this Aliquippa squad gives me the chills.
Jake Adams: Aliquippa 35, Middletown 28: Aliquippa’s coach said after last week’s win Avante McKenzie could “possibly” play. But even without him, the Quips are loaded at RB; Xavier Harvey and M.J. Devonshire each had 100 yards last week after hardly touching the ball all year. This will be a battle of teams with multiple great backs, but the WPIAL unit has more in the tank at other positions. It looks like another heartbreaker for the Blue Raiders, for the third straight year.
Adam Kulikowski: Aliquippa 28, Middletown 27: You can bet the Blue Raiders will need their very best performance to top the Quips. Aliquippa’s defense has yielded more than 100 yards rushing just twice all season while Jose Lopez has gashed opponents for more than 200 yards in his last four contests. Edge to me is in the Quip’s ability to sling it downfield.
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